Pacific Business News: Executive Q & A with Ryan Masa, Head of School at Assets School

Pacific Business News: Executive Q & A with Ryan Masa, Head of School at Assets School

This appeared in the print edition of Pacific Business News on Friday, April 14.

Ryan Masa serves as head of school for Assets School, the only school in Hawaii that specializes in educating children who are gifted, as well as those with dyslexia or language-based learning differences. Assets' lower school educates students from kindergarten through eighth grade, and its high school includes those in grades nine through 12.

"My background is diverse but has almost always carried a through line of supporting children who learn differently," Masa told Pacific Business News.

Prior to his role as head of school, Masa served as the Assets lower school principal for five years, and he has also worked for the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, for which he now serves on the board of directors. In 2014, Masa also collaborated with a group of community leaders to help open the Malama Honua Charter School, a Waimanalo school that offers an education rooted in Indigenous cultural values, he said.

What’s new for Assets School? Any upcoming events?

There are a lot of new, exciting happenings at Assets. In June, we opened the Transforming Lives Center on campus, which is an assessment center that is open to any student in our state. The Center is a place where students can receive comprehensive learning assessments. Families and educators can start better understanding how the child learns and what type of support they may need. If a child is struggling in school, or underperforming to their potential, an assessment helps figure out where attention should be focused. Without this type of insight, well-meaning adults are driving blind when it comes to support and interventions. 

We are excited for our robotics teams, which had wildly successful seasons this year. In fact, one of our high school teams won the State Championship of FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics and is headed to the FIRST World Championships in a week. 

We also have our Illumination annual fundraiser this week. This event raises money for financial assistance for our families. This is critically important because Assets is the only school in the state that specializes in serving students who are gifted and/or with learning differences, so we know that for many families, our school is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The in-person event is this weekend but the virtual auction is open now! We serve the community and therefore invite the community to take part in our virtual auction at 


What is the greatest challenge you have faced recently?

Keeping Assets affordable to families is a great challenge and one we devote a lot of time and care to. Assets has been a leading school in the country for 67 years so we know what type of education our students deserve. This causes Assets to be expensive because the program is highly specialized and personalized. We keep our teacher-to-student ratio low and meet students where they are with respect to their interests, strengths, and any skills that may be lagging. Through a lot of hard work and the generosity of individual donors and community/family foundations, we are able to provide almost 40% of our families with financial assistance. Every parent and child deserves a school where they are understood, accepted, and affirmed. We need to make sure cost is never the barrier to this peace of mind and potential for the future.


What are your goals for the rest of this year?

In the shortest of terms, I want to make sure Illumination is a rousing success this week! After that, we get to enjoy all of the end-of-year celebrations like graduation and the school play. Into the summer, we are investing a lot of energy and resources into our teaching training and capacity-building efforts. Because we are a unique school, our teachers require specialized, and vast, instructional toolboxes. The school continues to be committed to playing a major leadership role in preparing our teachers, and others, to serve and support brilliant students who struggle in traditional educational settings. 






Victories in Chess and Sports

Assets School secures back-to-back wins in chess. We have good news in esports, judo, golf, and CSAL Girls Basketball.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz poster

The Assets School Dramatic Arts Program presents "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" for our Spring Play on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Palikū Theatre at Windward Community College.

The Spirit Of Giving For Our Keiki

Your gratitude for Assets and desire to help others greatly appreciated and impressive, especially on our campaign finale, Giving Tuesday.

College Visits Help Navigate Transitions

Our dedicated College and Career Counselor, Farris James, is pivotal in preparing our students to address the ever-important question, "What lies beyond high school?"

Adventures In Geometry In Fifth And Sixth Grade

Students investigated areas around campus to identify and take pictures of parallel, intersecting, and perpendicular lines. They also learned about different angles, their classification, and how to measure and draw them using a protractor.

Embarking on a Journey of Learning

We're reminded that the learning journey is remarkable as we gather our backpacks, sharpen our pencils, and open our minds to new possibilities.

Mentorships Launch at High School

Mentorships at the High School start this month. Every Wednesday, for the entire day, students participate in a mentorship of their choosing.

US Patent Director Kathi Vidal Tours Assets School

Kathi Vidal, who serves the Nation as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (IP) and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), toured Assets School on Friday, June 16.

Valedictorian Noa '23 on KHON2's Way 2 Go! segment May 23, 2023

Our Valedictorian Noa '23 was on the KHON2 Way 2 Go segment on the 4 p.m. newscast that aired on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

Senior presents at Senior Showcase Friday, May 12

At Senior Showcase on Friday,  graduating seniors shared a little bit about themselves, their favorite memories of Assets, their educational journey, and their plans with family, and friends.

Thank You for Supporting Illumination 2023

Under twinkling lights, the music of alumnus Kapono Wong ’20 with a special appearance by former student Imani Colon, more than 200 guests including our Trustees, corporate sponsors, families, alumni, faculty and friends celebrated Illumination 2023 at The Pacific Club on April 15.

Arts Night Showcased Amazing Talent at Assets

Our student artists shined as they shared their masterpieces at Arts Night with their 'ohana. The halls of the K-8 campus turned into an art gallery showcasing sculptures, drawings, paintings, and more art all made by our students.

MidWeek Hot Shots 5-3-2023

MidWeek newspaper featured Central Pacific Bank and Assets School in the Hot Shots section on May 3.

Illumination Gala is April 15

We look forward to Illumination, our Gala Tuition Assistance Fundraiser. It will be on April 15, at The Pacific Club at 5 p.m. We are planning a special evening. We hope you can come. Board Chair Kitty Yannone shares what she loves about Illumination.

Love is in the Air

In honor of Valentine's Day, we share these Assets School love stories.

Summer School Registration Begins

Summer School classes will be from June to July at both K-8 and High School campuses, with distinctly different programs offered at each site. 

Thank You to the Robotics Sponsors

We extend a hearty mahalo to all the sponsors and supporters who believed in our robotics teams, Team Waffles, and Team MEAF.  Thank you for encouraging them on their journey from the start.

Assets School logo

On behalf of our Head of School Ryan Masa, Assistant Head of School and Admissions Director Sandi Tadaki, and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Linda Jameson Myers, we thank you for supporting our Annual Fund which supports Tuition Assistance, the Brace Library, Robotics, Athletics, and the School's Greatest Needs

This Family Appreciates Your Support

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, consider donating to our Annual Fund and help a family feel the magic of Assets School. Donations support much-needed scholarships to help transform the life of a student! 

A Giving Heart Educates A Grateful Heart

Mahalo to Assets parents Byron and Yumi Petrossian and their company Bright International Group, LLC for supporting Assets School's Annual Fund and our Robotics Program. 

High School Mentorship and Rocketry Programs Excell

Our High School is lively with excitement growing over the start of the Mentorship Program for this school year which includes new sites such as Foodland Farms at Ala Moana, Nimitz Elementary, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Sea Urchin Hatchery Program.

Assets Launches its First Middle School Robotics Team

This robotics program is geared towards students nine to sixteen years old and teaches them to program, build, and work with a team while having fun and exploring the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

Happy Anniversary Sandi and Darlene

Congratulations to Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions Sandi Tadaki and Director of Professional Development and Outreach Darlene Robertson on their 40th Anniversaries with Assets School.

Ryan and Kanoe Gibson

Ryan Masa is interviewed by Kanoe Gibson on HINOWDaily and shares about our Illumination auction and "Celebrating 65 Years of Transforming Lives" television show. 

Announcing Assets' TV Show

Assets is producing a one-hour television show: “Assets School-Celebrating 65 Years of Transforming Lives.” 

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 14th at 8 p.m. on K5, Saturday, April 17th at 6 p.m. on KGMB-TV (CBS) and Sunday, April 18th at 4 p.m. on KHNL-TV (NBC).

Assets School Donates 1,254 Pounds of Food

Assets School's community of #GreatMinds collected 1,254 pounds of food and $300, which was donated to the Hawaii Foodbank for Assets School's first Giving Back Tuesday.

Message from Hawaiian Studies Teacher Mele-Aina Wood

Hawaiian Studies teacher Mele-Aina Wood shares how important it is to pay it forward because someday those children, who have benefitted from your generosity, will be the ones giving back:

Robot-assisted Graduation 2020

Special times called for special measures. Thanks to Assets' Robotics Coach, Peter Han, our #greatminds had one of the most unique graduation ceremonies that included a Diploma Robot!

Highway Overhead Shot at Night

Research suggests that because of the freedom we had growing up, which included the freedom to do some foolish things that necessitated taking responsibility for our actions, we became capable problem solvers and resilient individuals.